There are many aspects of management that are tough, the role brings with it higher expectations, there are people issues to deal with, there are targets to meet, there are politics to deal with … but in my opinion, one of the things that managers struggle most with, is supporting “the party line” when they might personally feel differently.
As a manager you would hope to have input into the direction of your business unit, whether it be a small business unit within a large company or a large unit in a small company. It is however a fact that your job is to support the company in its goals, and you CANNOT undermine the company direction.
If you disagree with some policy or initiative, then it is your responsibility to give that feedback and to be heard, but if the company decision is to keep it the way it is then your responsibility is to publicly support and defend the company position. If you feel so strongly that you can’t do that, then you really have a big decision because the only real alternative is to leave.
Some people who are managers forget this … and it will get them into trouble.
Some people who are new to management don’t fully appreciate this, and need to learn it and hopefully not the hard way!
It is absolutely critical for a company’s management team to present a united front, and that is how companies create strong cultures and provide confidence to their employees. When individual managers undermine that unified front it destroys credibility and causes serious damage. The time to question and oppose the ideas is behind closed doors with the management team, and you must be willing to accept that you will not always get the answer that you would like … that is just life.
I have written a fair number of blogs that have a management component to them … here are a a couple that I think are relevant to the management role.
Back in September 2006 I wrote a blog entry called Today’s Leader … which you might find interesting.
Just last September (2008) I wrote a blog entry about Earning the Power in Your Position.
If you are a new manager, have plans to move into management or even if you have been a manager for a while you might want to read those entries.